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Sesame Workshop Up to IDP Foundation, Inc.’s Challenge

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May 2014
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The Rising Schools Program has proven that through carefully tailored loan products accompanied by specialized training in financial literacy and school management, very poor private schools in Ghana are bankable. Now, the IDP Foundation, Inc. has turned its attention to improving the quality of teaching in these low-cost private schools, whose teachers are largely untrained and have little access to professional development opportunities.

“My vision was to partner with Sesame Workshop to see if they could be just as effective in preparing untrained teachers to create positive child-centered learning environments in some of the poorest regions in the world. I think they have done it.
Irene Pritzker, President, IDP Foundation, Inc.

With the belief that Sesame Workshop is one of the greatest early childhood educators in the world, the President of the IDP Foundation, Inc. challenged them to explore educating a new demographic – teachers serving low-cost private schools. Excited by the opportunity, Sesame Workshop partnered with IDP Foundation, Inc. to create an innovative series of ten, ten-minute videos to transform teachers’ methods from rote to child-centered.

With the production of the videos and accompanying materials complete, Sesame Workshop conducted 5 master trainings in the four regions of Ghana in which the IDP Rising Schools Program currently works. Head teachers and proprietors from each IDP Rising School gained the tools and materials to conduct step-down trainings in their schools. Each school also received Teacher Guides, math manipulables, and learning posters to facilitate creative and child-centered lesson plans. After attending a master training in Ghana, the IDP Rising Schools Program Associate said, “To observe the teachers not only enjoy the videos and materials, but also embrace the child-centered methods through practice truly brought the project to life.”

“I no longer force everything on my [students]. I know that they are different from each other and as such I now teach my [students] based on their individual uniqueness”

A qualitative assessment conducted by the National Centre into Basic Education found that:
· 100% of teachers agreed that the topics were relevant to their teaching.
· 100% of teachers reported implementing some of the techniques in their classrooms.
· 97% of the participants stated the training improved their knowledge, attitude and behavior.

Teachers reported that they learned the importance of developing a child-friendly classroom, how to make teaching more creative by having students bring low-cost materials to school, how to manage a classroom effectively, and how to assess and evaluate students. One untrained teacher said, “This training has made me now think of becoming a professional teacher.” Another teacher expressed that the training, “has helped the children to feel free and learn.”

Given the evidence, the IDP Foundation, Inc. and Sesame Workshop are delighted to know they developed a truly powerful set of tools to enhance the quality of teachers in Ghana.

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